Trainer Profile: J. Keith Desormeaux

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

August 28th, 2015

Although training horses since 1988, the name J. Keith Desormeaux wasn't known to most horse racing fans until 2014 when Desormeaux won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile with Texas Red. Texas Red, who has the chance to beat Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes on August 29, has to be considered one of the best three-year-olds in the country after Bob Baffert's superstar. Should he beat American Pharoah, it would just add more light to Desormeaux's quickly rising star.

Keith Desormeaux is the brother of better known Racing Hall-of-Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux. Although Kent D is very well known to horse racing fans, Keith D really started to get noticed in 2013 when he saddled I've Struck A Nerve to a victory in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes. 2013 was also the year where Keith D first broke the million dollar earnings threshold when his horses earned $1,308,756. The good times kept rolling in 2014. Due to Texas Red's win in the BC Juvenile, Keith D's horses banked $2,527,196.

Texas Red added another graded stakes victory to Keith D's resume this year when winning the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga.  The son of Afleet Alex used an incredible turn of foot to close the gap on Japan and get the jump on Frosted, another highly regarded three-year-old. With a victory over American Pharoah, Texas Red could easily stamp himself as a serious contender for the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 31. Texas Red never got the chance to battle American Pharoah since the Triple Crown champion missed the BC Juvenile in 2014 and Texas Red missed all 3 of the Triple Crown races.

As good as Texas Red is, Keith D's best horse might be the two-year-old Exaggerator. Winner of the 2015 Saratoga Special, Exaggerator has all the makings of another BC Juvenile contender and  a horse to reckon with on next year's Triple Crown Trail. In the Saratoga Special, Exaggerator found himself stuck behind horses in the stretch. He showed incredible patience before jockey Junior Alvarado burst him through an opening on the rail and to the finish line first. It was a mature showing by a very young horse. Almost as important is the fact that Exaggerator, without a doubt, is the best bred horse in Keith D's barn. Sired by champion Curlin and out of a Vindication mare, Exaggerator has the makings of a truly awesome horse. Curlin was sired by Smart Strike while Vindication was sired by Seattle Slew. Considering the job that Keith D did with Texas Red, don't be surprised if Exaggerator goes into 2016 as one of the highest rated three-year-olds in the country.

It's exciting to see Keith Desormeaux's rise to national prominence as a trainer. What's also great is that Keith Desormeaux uses his brother Kent Desormeaux on many of his horses. Keep watching because the Desormeaux Brothers impact on horse racing has barely begun.